Best and Worst: Patriots 35, Dolphins 17
BEST OF TIMES, WORST OF TIMES
Nate Ebner concluded the Patriots first series of plays by audibling for a fake punt which worked to perfection as he picked up 14 on fourth-and-8. The aftermath was not positive. Ebner injured his knee and was done for the day.
HOP AND SCOOT
Dion Lewis picked up 22 yards to open the Patriots second drive on a simple dive up the middle where he hurdled a Dolphin like a fallen log and zipped through the middle of the Miami defense.
AN EARLY GRONKING
Rob Gronkowski saw five targets on the Patriots first two drives and was particularly effective on the second catching three passes for 21, 20 and five yards – the last one a touchdown.
On its second drive, Miami faced a fourth-and-1 at their 46. Already down 14-0, head coach Adam Gase made the right call by going for it. They picked it up.
Our guy Ted Karras got crossed up with Tom Brady in the second quarter and rifled a snap back when Brady wasn’t looking which resulted in a Dolphins touchdown.
THIRD AND WRONG!
Brandin Cooks got loose in the middle of the Miami defense on a third-and-14 during the Patriots fourth drive and picked up 37 yards.
Miami ran a flea flicker on their third drive and picked up a 34-yard pass interference penalty on Malcolm Butler that set up their first offensive points of the game.
STILLS THE ONE
On the Patriots final drive before the half, Tom Brady took a hard hit after an incompletion and expressed displeasure that there was no call. On the Miami sideline, wide receiver Kenny Stills barked out at Brady and Brady gestured back. A few plays later, when Brady was picked, Stills skipped around the sidelines and pointed to his helmet as if he’d gotten in Brady’s head.
A LITTLE TOO MUCH MOORE
Matt Moore tried to go up top on a fade to close the first half for the Dolphins and was picked by Stephon Gilmore, depriving Miami of a score and possibly sinking the knife even deeper into the Dolphins barely-twitching carcass.
OUT OF THE SCRUM
The Patriots somehow came out of a dogpile with possession after Danny Amendola had the ball jarred loose on a punt return early in the second half.
THAT GUY’S NUTS! GRAB ‘EM!!
A happy interloper invaded the field in the third quarter and had designs on a long entertaining excursion but slipped on the goal line and was descended upon by 18 security guards and police officers who helped him off the field.
THE OL’ 28 PUNCH
Bobby McCain got into a scrap with Danny Amendola following a third-quarter running play and was ejected. That play followed a facemask penalty by the Dolphins which also helped the Patriots move downfield.
LAST GUY YOU’D EXPECT
After the other two 15-yarders, Ndamukong Suh pulled Dion Lewis down by the facemask but the penalty went uncalled.
WHY COVER HIM?
The Miami defense pretty much let Gronk sail through the middle of their defense in the red zone to catch an uncontested toss from Tom Brady. Gronk nearly fumbled it but hauled it in for the touchdown and punctuated the reception with a resounding spike.
NOTHING BUT FLOWERS
Trey Flowers and Marquis Flowers combined on a sack in the third quarter that left both of them in some disrepair.